cover image While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping

John Butler. Peachtree Publishers, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-211-8

In this luxuriantly illustrated counting book, towheaded Daisy learns from her mother that the animal world has been a busy place while she slept: one tiger hunted in the jungle, two mice made a nest in the hay and ever-growing groups of other species frolicked and flew. ""And when you go to bed tonight,"" says Daisy's mother, ""they'll all wake up again."" Butler's (Little Sibu) soothing, restrained text reads like a lullaby, but his full-bleed, double-spread animals portraits are the stuff of wide-eyed wonder, especially when he renders his subjects in close-up. The mixed-media pictures exude a romantic, unabashedly Victorian sensibility: the solitary tiger stands nobly in sunset, while four baby owls huddled together in an oak tree express a poignant vulnerability. The closing spread reveals that the aforementioned animals all reside in Daisy's room (six deer decorate her lampshade, seven geese ""fly"" in a mobile, etc.). Butler's menagerie makes for an attractive alternative to counting sheep at bedtime. Ages 1-5. (Nov.)